During 2021-2024, I will be the principal investigator of the research project «Evaluation Optics of the Nation State: The Past, Present and Future of Public Documentation» (EVALUNATION). The project builds off from my PhD on the history of evaluation reports and how these are written, read and discussed in society. Financing comes from the Research Council of Norway under the funding scheme FRIPRO - Young Research Talents. Follow this link to an abridged project description.
A key part of both the EVALUNATION project and my previous work, is developing an interdisciplinary method for document analysis that combines historical, rhetorical, sociological and digital methods with approaches developed within the field of STS (Science and Technology Studies). I have co-written a textbook on this topic with Kristin Asdal: Hvordan gjøre dokumentanalyse: En praksis-orientert metode (Cappelen Damm 2020). The book is currently being reworked into English under contract with SAGE (expected 2022). For a quick introduction to the book's approach, watch the short video below:
I am interested in the relationship between knowledge and politics, and how different forms of knowledge production shape politics and society at large. I have investigated topics within the history of politics and public administration, the history of science, environmental history, development studies, energy, aquaculture, petroleum, evaluation and audit.
During 2016-2020, I was a postdoctoral fellow and project coordinator at the Little Tools Project, which studied the science, politics, and markets of fisheries and aquaculture in Norway and the EU, historically and today. The project was led by Kristin Asdal, hosted by TIK and financed by the European Research Council (ERC). Our case in point was the Atlantic cod: A species of great importance in Norwegian history and contemporary economy, yet also a reluctant participant in the ongoing innovation initiatives of the expanding aquaculture industry -- compared to the salmon, the cod continues to be a difficult fish to farm. My contribution to this study was analyses of Norwegian and EU policy schemes - more specifically, policy documents - that sought to realize large-scale visions of the 'blue economy' and the 'bioeconomy'.
My doctoral research at TIK during 2010-2015 concerned the evaluation of foreign aid, specifically how this emerged as a distinct field of expertise through a combination of social science, public accountability, development policy, and aid administration. In my thesis, I analyzed how evaluation was institutionalized within Norwegian foreign aid during 1980-1992, with special attention to how the specific methods, routines, and systems contributed to transform the field of aid at large. A key question in the dissertation is how these different methods made it possible to see the results of aid. The analysis focused upon Norwegian petroleum-related aid projects, and the challenges of evaluating the effect of transferring expertise from Norway to developing countries. The dissertation is theoretically and methodologically positioned within the interdisciplinary field of Science and Technology Studies (STS). My Ph.D. supervisors were Kristin Asdal (TIK) and Gabrielle Hecht (then University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, now Stanford).
I have lectured on the topics of evaluation practice, aid administration and document analysis at OsloMet, NMBU/Noragric and the Norwegian Police Academy. I have previously lectured in the following courses at UiO:
TIK 4001: Technology, Innovation and Knowledge
TIK 4011: Science and Technology in Politics and Society
TIK 4040: Research and Design Seminar
For a full description of my teaching experience and other commitments, see my CV.